We try to keep up with automotive trends and make sense of them if we can. Sometimes, however, automakers’ decisions don’t make much sense at all. Case in point is fake exhaust tips. If the exhaust isn’t really there, why the hell do you need to make it look like it is? And don’t say conventions, because that’s about as helpful as insisting that an electric car should have a grille when there’s literally no need for it.

In most cases, the actual exhaust pipe sits right behind the fake exhaust tips. The annoying thing is they don’t actually attach to the wide-mouthed, fake tips. Those tips are attached only to the rear bumper, and only to look cool, or so the automaker thinks. It’s like wearing a muscle suit on Halloween to make your Superman costume look more legit. Sorry, but you’re not fooling anyone.

Fake Exhausts Plague Some of the Best Cars

Mercedes AMG GT
Unfortunately, those exhaust tips aren't the real deal. (Image: Mercedes-Benz)

Fake exhaust tips aren’t just on wannabe sports cars that have fake hood and fender vents. The best automakers in the world are putting them on awesome cars. Mercedes-Benz and Audi are some of the worst offenders. That’s not saying other automakers aren’t doing this too, but we want to believe that Mercedes and Audi are better than that.

The Mercedes C-Class, CLA-Class, AMG C63, and even the AMG GT are just a few cars bearing the three-pointed star badge that have fake exhaust tips. Audi’s new SQ5 has some noticeably fake exhaust tips, and is possibly the worst offender we've seen so far. Mercedes and Audi aren't the only ones doing this. VW, Kia, Lexus, and several others are, too. Even some supercar and hypercar brands do this, including Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Bugatti. 

Bugatti Chiron exhaust system
Those six pipes are the Bugatti Chiron's actual exhaust pipes. (Image: Bugatti)

We'd like to think that a brand like Bugatti is above fake exhaust tips. Unfortunately, the Bugatti Chiron, as special as it is, has exhaust tips that aren't true to form. It has six exhaust pipes (shown in the image above), but the back of the car only has two huge exhaust tips (shown in the image below).

Bugatti Chiron
Unfortunately, those tips arean't real. (Image: Bugatti)

Two exhaust outlets would be okay if all of the exhaust pipes all connected up, but they don’t. Instead, the two outer most exhaust pipes of the monster hypercar spit out under the rear diffuser. The two exhaust outlets in the rear also, don't really do much. Their shape is more cosmetic than anything. Still, at least the four central exhaust pipes do spit exhaust through the openings.

2019 Bugatti Chiron Sport

So, we guess it's not total attempted deception, though we don't get why Bugatti has to hide exhausts at all. Six pipes out the back of the Chiron (image above: Bugatti) would be awesome. The 2019 Chiron Sport (shown above) actually has four of what appear to be real-deal exhaust pipes. That's great, but it's still two pipes short. We assume those outer two pipes are still expelling exhaust over the rear diffuser. Maybe Bugatti has a legitimate reason for this, but we can't think of one. 

Fake Exhausts Aren't Necessary

The 2018 Ford Mustang has real exhausts
You can see the Ford Mustang GT's real exhaust tips here. (Image: Bugatti)

Luckily, not all cars do this. The good old Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro still have legit exhaust tips. Volkswagens’ GTI gets real tips as does Honda’s Civic Si and Type R. The Honda Civic is a little surprising because it has some fakery going on with its front plastic bits, but we’re glad to see Honda didn’t resort to fake tips. These cars are just a few of the many out there that have real exhausts.

With those cars in mind, it’s safe to say the only reason automakers are putting fake tips on vehicles is for aesthetic appeal. Basically, the fake tips allow a designer a little more freedom when styling the rear end of the car. Exhaust tips get hot, and you can’t have your funky-shaped exhaust tip touching the plastic of your bumper or you’re going to melt something. So they put fake exhaust tips on a car and call it good to keep the styling. The issue is that those fake tips only make the car look cheap.

2018 Honda Civic Si has a real exhaust tip
Honda does a real exhaust even with a funkily shaped tip on its Civic Si. (Image: Honda)

Still, we wonder why they need to have the tip right up next to the plastic anyway. Take the Civic Si as an example. It has a fat, funky-shaped hole of an exhaust, but it’s still actually connected to the rest of the exhaust system. We see no problem with this. If automakers are going to insist on exhaust tips that aren’t round, then they should at least make them functional.